Loneliness Awareness Week 2023
Between 12 and 18 June 2023, the teams from Haringey Reach and Connect and Haringey Circle joined together with voluntary and community sector partners to put on a host of activities across Haringey as part of Loneliness Awareness Week, helping to build connection between Haringey residents.
Loneliness Awareness Week is an opportunity to identify and acknowledge all the times that we have personally felt and experienced loneliness, so we can start to change our viewpoint, accept it and understand how to take action to manage the feeling (and our social connections) in the future.
There was a whole host of activities throughout the week, such as shared reading groups, art therapy, a gardening session, and a community lunch. Local organisations, groups and volunteers were awarded certificates of appreciation to recognise their ongoing work to combat loneliness and isolation in the borough.
Connection Matters Conference
The week was rounded off with a Connection Matters Conference, organised by Public Voice and Haringey Circle. Over a hundred people attended the event which brought together policy makers, professionals and the public to tackle the issue of loneliness at a local level.
The keynote speakers included Rob Hewings, Director of The Campaign to End Loneliness, Paul Allen, Head of Integrated Commissioning for North Central London Integrated Care Board, and Charlotte Lewis, Age-friendly Communities Network Manager, Centre for Ageing Better.
After hearing from the speakers attendees were split up into groups, where they discussed hypothetical scenarios of loneliness among Haringey residents and the ways in which loneliness could be reduced in the borough.
Rob Hewings, Director of The Campaign to End Loneliness, explained that loneliness can impact individuals of all ages, ranging from young people navigating uncertain educational and early career paths to new parents and the elderly. He went on to say that while there is no single method of curing loneliness, some things we can do to combat loneliness are being active listeners and improving our built environment, such as accessible transport links.
Later on in the conference, Paul Allen, Head of Integrated Commissioning for North Central London, showed a map of Haringey that demonstrated how the eastern and central parts of Haringey have a higher prevalence for loneliness for those over 65 years old, but that loneliness remains an issue even in the lower risk areas.
Better community transport, befriending over 50’s and community kitchens were identified by the attendees as the top three most beneficial services to support residents and help make Haringey are more connected borough.
Following the response and enthusiasm to our 2023 Loneliness Awareness Week and Connection Matters Conference, we will continue raising awareness around loneliness and social isolation through the Reach and Connect service.
We invite partners to share their initiatives and help to address gaps during the year. We commit to collaborate with local partners to design and develop interventions to better support residents facing social isolation – helping identify resident needs, engage residents to make use of new services, and build the case for support and funding to scale these interventions.
Tackling loneliness will need long-term and sustainable commitment. It will take community effort and resources to address make a difference. We are committed to supporting this, and will continue to offer one-to-one brief interventions to support residents who may be experiencing loneliness, and to continue to connect with partners to support initiatives to increase choice and support available.
Loneliness Awareness Week 2024
We invite interested parties to connect and co-produce a follow-up event in June 2024. Our 2024 event will show Haringey's progression a year on and identify areas where further work is needed.